28 Dec The Latest and Greatest in Tattoo Removal Technology
Few people with even passing familiarity with me and the way in which I conduct my practice would imagine that I would ever assume a digital presence, much less that I would forsake valuable reading or piano time to post a blog! While I have always been at the forefront of medical technology, websites can seem over my head.
But, in addition to this new website comes another exciting technological advance for my practice, one which now dominates my collection of lasers and devises – the PicoSure laser. It is a game changer on all fronts, from tattoo removal to cutaneous rejuvenation, treatment of acne scarring and stretch marks, and elimination of benign pigmented lesions and much more. I will address PicoSure’s many capabilities in subsequent posts, but today will introduce its utility in tattoo removal.
Our popular culture’s proclivity for the inking the skin has a history that significantly predates my internet presence! Evidence of tattoos on mummified skin as well as in art and archaeological records extends at least as far back as the early 4th century BC. In the United States the history of tattoos is documented in post-Revolutionary War times when the detailing of subject matter and location of tattoos was legislated by Congress in 1798 to help keep American seaman from being impressed by the British Navy. Tattoo artists followed fleets and practiced their craft on shipboard and in ports of call. The first stand-alone tattoo studio was established in 1870 in NYC. In 1891 the art of tattooing was revolutionized when a patent was granted for the first machine to instill ink. Standardized patterns were quickly introduced. Cosmetic tattooing of women’s lips, cheeks, and eyebrows was practiced before 1950. Body adornment has been employed for identification, self-expression of spiritual and mystical aestheticism, personal rebellion, societal and political protest, and the pursuit of artistic expression.
More than 20% of American adults are tattooed and up to 20% of those regret at least some aspect of their body art. Prior to the introduction of laser technology in tattoo modification and removal, modalities to rid oneself of unwanted ink ranged from excision to salabrasion (abrading the skin with salt crystals), chemical extraction and scarification, and dermabrasion (mechanically removing layers of skin with fraises/wheels made of diamond fragments or wire brushes). These modalities were limited by pain, difficult wound care, incomplete removal of ink, and unacceptable scarring.
Earliest introductions of laser technology via tissue vaporization were similarly limiting in that they were painful procedures producing open wounds that healed with dyspigmentation and varying degrees of scarring. The development of Q-switched laser technology revolutionized tattoo removal by allowing treatment without the creation of open wounds, thus substantially decreasing the risk of scarring. The energy of this class of lasers is absorbed by tattoo pigment resulting in the fragmenting of pigment into particles that are released from cells and eliminated through the body’s lymphatic system. Various wavelengths of laser light are employed to match individual tattoo pigments. The selection of energy levels and the duration of the individual pulses delivered influence how pigment particles are exploded and subsequently cleared from the body.
The introduction of the picosecond laser represents a quantum leap forward in Q-switched technology and dthe treatment of unwanted tattoo pigments. PicoSure’s ultra-short pulses of a trillionth of a second hit the ink packages with pressure great enough to shatter the ink into dust like particles that are more readily eliminated from the body while generating less thermal damage and inflammation to surrounding tissue. This results in more rapid and complete clearing of unwanted tattoo pigment with diminished pain and less risk of development of permanent pigment change or scarring.
Better clearing! Fewer treatments! Enhanced safety profile! PicoSure is a winning proposition on every level!